A new era started on Tuesday when SmackDown Live aired – like the name suggests – live with an exclusive roster and still WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. Everything sounded good but with Vince McMahon exclusively responsible for this show, things weren’t executed as well. Here are my thoughts and resentments about it. Enjoy!
Yes, I’m back moaning and arguing. Because, indeed, what sounded good on paper, really wasn’t that great for the actual first show. It’s rather obvious that Vince McMahon controls the booking, some bad jokes that the wrestlers have to deliver in front of a live audience and the rather irrelevant women’s division. It was just the first show and things can still change for the better. But as far as things stand, I point out the stuff that needs to change immediately, otherwise me writing about SmackDown Live won’t last long.
We start off SmackDown Live with a roster gathering around the WWE Champion
It’s a nice start to the first edition of SmackDown Live with the whole roster circling the ring for the WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. In a Six Pack Challenge his opponent for SummerSlam needs to be found. We’ve got John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, Baron Corbin and AJ Styles announced with the sixth entrant to be decided in a Battle Royal. It would have been great for the women to join this very match – that would have been fun. But since Vince McMahon controls and books SmackDown Live, this wasn’t going to happen.
What was really bad about this first segment was Daniel Bryan announcing the first five participants in the Six Pack Challenge. I never was a big fan of his promos but he really shot the donkey here. He behaved and sounded more like a game show master that might have enjoyed some people, but not me. The General Manager as well as the Commissioner shouldn’t be part of the show, they should add to the show, like the topping of the cake. That’s why the General Manager of NXT, William Regal, is basically universally loved: because he only appears when it’s really needed, to add, not to take away. If it was someone like Paul Heyman who can talk, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with that booking. But Daniel Bryan just can’t talk.
The Battle Royal
The Battle Royal immediately followed after this first segment, and I always kind of like those type of matches. There’s not much wrestling, that’s for sure, but it’s fun, so it’s okay. That match also wasn’t too long. The only issue I had with this match was that it basically was irrelevant and meaningless. I would have booked it with the winner of the Six Pack Challenge also winning this Battle Royal. But like I said: it was senseless fun, and Apollo Crews was happy enough to win this match. So, I guess at least it was good for him.
Eliminated in this order: Simon Gotch, Viktor & Konnor, Jay Uso, (Aiden English, Erick Rowan), Mojo Rawley, Alberto del Rio, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Kalisto, Zack Ryder, Kane.
The coming winner of the Six Pack Challenge, Dolph Ziggler, had a little backstage promo, saying that he lost his path but wants to take it back and it’s gonna start tonight. In the end, he said / promised the truth.
There needs to be a SmackDown Woman’s Champion – otherwise, what’s the point of the women’s matches?
Apparently, Becky Lynch and Natalya had some issues, so they had a match and Becky Lynch won within about nine minutes, incl. one commercial break, which is quite long for a women’s match. But Natalya looks still stupid with the top hair bun!
After the match, all other SmackDown Live women made her introduction, Alexa Bliss, Naomi and Carmella all by theirselves, Eva Marie by a male voice (that sounded a lot like Mauro Ranallo) but nothing else happened which was quite disappointing because what is the point of this women’s division of SmackDown Live? – very lazy writing here and clearly done this way to make it obvious to the fans that the higher ups of SmackDown Live just don’t care about the girls.
Miz TV: Miz hypes himself and I’m bored
Maryse introduced her husband while The Miz announced the guest of Miz TV as himself. Didn’t we already have this with Chris Jericho not too long ago? And this man did it far better! Lazy writing all over again. And Maryse is portrayed just like Vinny Mac wants every woman to be, an accessory to a man. Randy Orton interrupted this travesty and I thanked him for it. But he soon enough made me cringe, too, with this one:
“Miz, you’re clearly an expert for playing with yourself.” – oh, dear lord, just another bad joke straight from the pen of Vinny Mac. I can’t wait for Dean Ambrose having to deliver the sexual related jokes from this old man…
They hyped Orton vs Lesnar at SummerSlam and make Orton vs The Miz right now for Orton’s first match after nine months off the television ring. And he squashed The Miz within five minutes. Well, this is how you book the Intercontinental Champion… not really.
Then it was time for Heath Slater to come out to ask why he wasn’t drafted to neither Raw nor SmackDown Live – well, it’s because you’re annoying. He continues calling himself the “hottest free agent in Sport’s Entertainment” and Shane McMahon sends out the guy who he thinks is really the hottest free agent: Rhyno. Typical decision by Vince MacMahon, not listening to the fans and thinking they would be hot for Rhyno when it couldn’t be further from the reality. Well, I’ve got nothing against older wrestlers who search for a new and fresh start but Rhyno isn’t far from being equally annoying as Heath Slater – my suggestion: make them into a jobber tag team that puts over the good tag teams on SmackDown Live.
Thoughts on the Six Pack Challenge
Bray Wyatt still doesn’t work as a singles competitor for me, he needs his entourage. Dean Ambrose should have been on commentary. Actually, that was a point that wrote itself. Why wasn’t he there? He only came out after the match for a stand-off with Ziggler that made me slightly cringe again. I mean, when he wasn’t out there because he didn’t care about who would be his opponent, where was the need for him to come out after the match? Didn’t make sense for me. WWE should know by now that Dean Ambrose on commentary would have added to the match; without him something was missing.
The match itself took almost twelve minutes (incl. one commercial break) with a nicely booked finish but with the wrong winner in Dolph Ziggler. At least, it would be stupid to make Dean Ambrose lose against this guy. So, Dean Ambrose basically already won against him at SummerSlam which is nice.
And by the way, it doesn’t matter if JBL is the heel or the face commentator, he’s just not good enough and his voice is annoying in both roles.
The last word
Oh, and who’s the bad boy of the SmackDown Live roster? This first edition felt more like a family meeting but not a wrestling show. Some beef & edges need to be added, otherwise – like I said before – what’s the point? Even Bray Wyatt looked like the cool dude like he is in real life and wasn’t AJ Styles heel before? Yes, in those times of terror and pain, it’s nice to have some peace and buddy-buddy relationships on TV – but, come on, if I want this, I watch a Disney movie, not a wrestling show.
So, just turn Dean Ambrose heel and you’ve got the edge you need for that show!